Sometimes it seems like the phrase “movies are a subjective art form” was invented solely to ward off violence over differing opinions of film. Sure, there might be some cases where general consensus is nearly reached – but even then you can count on that one person who hated Godfather II or Silence of the Lambs or Shawshank Redemption to voice their opinion.

But some movies, they just come through like magnets and either pull people in intensely or push them away with just as much intensity – and in 2013, we had some pretty big examples of that sort of polarization.

Here’s our 5 Most Polarizing ‘Love It or Hate It’ movie list for 2013.

HATERS SAY: It’s sexist, violent, perverse exploitation trash masking itself as high-concept horror art.

LOVERS SAY: It’s high-concept and self-aware horror cinema (that actually horrifies), and it actually makes a very feministic point about the genre.

Maniac is brutal; you could probably put it on a separate list for people who will watch until the end vs. people who won’t. For all those who complain that horror movies aren’t scary enough anymore: step up to this one and see what you think.


HATERS SAY: It’s a bizarre, violent, self-indulgent crass bore with delusions of cinematic grandeur.

LOVERS SAY: It’s a visually stunning and poetic meditation on the struggle between good and evil, mother and father, and every major force in between.

Nicolas Winding Refn is no stranger to making divisive movies. People either loved or hated Drive (one person filed a lawsuit about it) and Only God Forgives was like a triple dose of that film. The problem child of Cannes is still splitting them down the middle.


HATERS SAY: It’s exploitative and poorly-acted trash cinema trying to give indie cred to some Disney kids and James Franco.

LOVERS SAY: It’s a brilliantly subversive portrait of modern youth culture mentality. James Franco deserves an Oscar.

Harmony Korine wrote the groundbreaking movie Kids, has scarred people with films like Gummo, and showed hints of ironic brilliance in films like Mister Lonely. At the very least, his work can never be called “forgettable.”


HATERS SAY: Superman has been ruined.

LOVERS SAY: Superman is back, and better than ever.

This is the one that seems to have split the masses way beyond the film-buff crowd. Superman is a world icon, and all other criticism aside, this new vision of the character (with a new British actor in the role) either connected or it did not.


HATERS SAY: Hella weak start to Marvel’s Phase Two, and it ruins so many elements of the Iron Man mythos it’s not even funny.

LOVERS SAY: Witty and entertaining bit of superhero blockbuster movie-making by Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), with RDJ at his best.

When Ben Kingsley’s “Mandarin” was revealed, you either groaned or laughed out loud. There would be many other praises vs criticisms of the film, but this is the big divider, no doubt – and there is no roar like that of a geek fanbase, divided.


(Image Credit: Ismael Bergara)

Here are a few other films that caused some smaller divides between filmgoers, perhaps not on the same scale as those in the main list:

Oblivion – The Tom Cruise sci-fi film by TRON Legacy director Joseph Kosinski was either LOVED for its immersive world-building and engaging story, or HATED on for “borrowing” so many elements of its twisting (but predictable) sci-fi narrative.

The Desolation of Smaug – The second chapter of The Hobbit is LOVED for upping the pacing and action quotient (and Evangeline Lily); but others HATE on it for being a flat middle filler with no real arc, or a video game-style desolation of Tolkien’s text.


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